Neuroimaging of Meckel’s cave in normal and disease conditions

Ajay Malhotra, Long Tu, Vivek B. Kalra, Xiao Wu, Ali Mian, Rajiv Mangla, Elias Michaelides, Pina Sanelli, Dheeraj Gandhi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Abstract: Meckel’s cave is a dural recess in the posteromedial portion of the middle cranial fossa that acts as a conduit for the trigeminal nerve between the prepontine cistern and the cavernous sinus, and houses the Gasserian ganglion and proximal rootlets of the trigeminal nerve. It serves as a major pathway in perineural spread of pathologies such as head and neck neoplasms, automatically upstaging tumours, and is a key structure to assess in cases of trigeminal neuralgia. The purpose of this pictorial review is threefold: (1) to review the normal anatomy of Meckel’s cave; (2) to describe imaging findings that identify disease involving Meckel’s cave; (3) to present case examples of trigeminal and non-trigeminal processes affecting Meckel’s cave. Teaching points: • Meckel’s cave contains the trigeminal nerve between prepontine cistern and cavernous sinus. • Assessment is essential for perineural spread of disease and trigeminal neuralgia. • Key imaging: neural enhancement, enlargement, perineural fat/CSF effacement, skull base foraminal changes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)499-510
Number of pages12
JournalInsights into Imaging
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2018


  • Meckel’s cave
  • Neuralgia
  • Perineural
  • Skull base
  • Trigeminal


Dive into the research topics of 'Neuroimaging of Meckel’s cave in normal and disease conditions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this